The Spiritual Meaning of Numbers… 40

by Benjamin Langley on August 11, 2008 · 14 comments

There are a variety of spiritual traditions around the world who believe that certain numbers have specific meanings. Understanding these meanings can be interesting, but I am going to take it a step further… I will give you practical exercises that will help you make this understanding useful in your life!

In this post, we will be discussing the number 40.

In the Bible, during the flood, it rains for 40 days and 40 nights.

Again, in the Bible, Christ spends 40 days of fasting in a desert.

In both instances, there is the impression of adversity. Noah has to make it through the flood (on a boat full of animals)… and Christ is fasting in a desert while being tempted by the Devil. There are many other occurrences of the number 40 in the Bible. In addition, it is used as the basis of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life (40 days to find your creator’s purpose for you)… and it is also brought up in Shadow Strategies of an American Ninja Master by Glenn Morris as the number of days of meditation necessary to awaken the kundalini energy.

3 layers of mind

We want to align the

  • conscious mind (white dot) with the
  • sub-conscious mind (black oval) to gain access to the
  • Super-conscious mind (gray oval)…


Once your conscious and sub-conscious (I use ‘unconscious’ and ‘sub-conscious’ interchangeably) minds are in rapport, you will not only be bringing your full power to bare on the situation, you will also begin to receive help from the ‘other side’ (Higher Intelligence, Higher Power, God, Goddess, the Zero point energy field, whatever you like to call it). For more on this, check out my post The (simplified) Mystic Model of the Mind!

In order to create this rapport, you have to know how to connect your conscious and sub-conscious minds. This can be done with meditation or prayer, assuming you have a process for doing so:

  1. sit upright
  2. breathe deeply
  3. close your eyes
  4. relax physically
  5. relax mentally
  6. count yourself down from 10 to 1
  7. encourage yourself to “relax”, “go deeper”, and “let go”
  8. if you like, once you are in a deep state of mind-body relaxation, you can bring a problem/challenge/project up inside your mind. Notice how it is currently, what you would like to change, and then focus on the project completed exactly as you would like it to be
  9. when you are finished, you can count yourself back up, or you can simply go about the rest of your day bringing some of this relaxed, alert state along with you!

Usually, with about 10 hours of training with this method, you can create bridges from the conscious to the unconscious mind (using brainwave entrainment can yield even stronger results).

Traditionally, it was thought that it took 30 days or longer to create a habit. Modern research has reduced the amount of time needed to establish a habit to 21 days. Assuming you are practicing every day, you can get your sub-conscious mind on board for a new behavior (mental, physical, or emotional), in just 21 days.

My opinion, is that it is still wise to go to 40… this gives a deeper conditioning effect, and tends to help you allow yourself to more fully commit to the process

But what is the ‘spiritual’ meaning of the number 40?

With 40 days of consistent practice, not only have you created a habit… you are beginning to bring something beyond yourself into the process.

Earlier, I mentioned ‘adversity’. Building habits (or breaking them) is not easy. In the Bible, Christ was tempted by the Devil. You may feel like ‘the Devil is tempting you’ not to follow the path…. but you have to keep going!

Some of the most powerful experiences in my life have been times where I

Accept the adversity, and Keep Going!

It isn’t complicated, but you have to stick with the process. You can use your imagination to focus on the aspects of the process you love, and to mentally create all the amazing results you will gain when you stick with the process

The Bible also states “The Lord helps those who help themselves…”

Too much prayer (and meditation for that matter) is just endless supplication and begging for stuff…

There is nothing wrong with asking for help, but if you really want help, show Higher Power that you are serious…

Make a commitment of Forty days…

and not only will you begin to truly understand the spiritual meaning of the number, you will receive more help than you can imagine!

keep smiling,


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott C August 11, 2008 at 3:22 PM


Old friend, just for your edification I thought I’d point out there is a misquote in your post.

“The Lord helps those who help themselves…” is not found anywhere in the bible, in fact the concept is not even biblical.

I’ve seen studies where as many as 90% of people believe that is in there, but I assure you it is not. You can even do a search on any popular bible site, no translation contains anything near that.



Ben August 11, 2008 at 3:37 PM

Hey Scott,

thank you for the clarification.

Just so everybody knows I’m no more perfect than any other human (and I’m aware of that), I’ll leave this post as it is. In future works, however, I will use “It has been said that ‘the Lord helps those who help themselves'”

Another interesting story is of Max Freedom Long. He encountered a man on a ranch who appeared to be working on a fence and speaking to himself. Max asked “What are you doing”

“Praying to keep my horses” the man said.

“You’re praying to keep your horses while you fix the fence?” Max asked, curiously.

To which the man responded “Yep… prayer seems to work best that way!”

keep smiling,



Adam August 11, 2008 at 3:29 PM

Translation tends to capture meaning well enough, but I think the idea is certainly ‘implied’ in all the stories in the bible. 😉

Be lighthearted always,



Ben August 11, 2008 at 3:40 PM

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Adam!

Which idea were you referring to?

keep smiling,



Adam August 14, 2008 at 6:41 PM

Just referring to scott’s first comment about what is not “in text” in the bible. Just a reminder about translation, implication, and the ability to live above the details :) Thankyou for your website ben, It’s well thought-out, imo.


Ben August 15, 2008 at 3:16 AM

I agree, Adam. My good friend Scott disagrees, though. The good thing about this is we can have differing views on religion with no fatalities, and possibly even some mutual respect… this is pretty powerful considering the last few thousand years of history!

And I’m glad you’re enjoying the site… keep commenting and let me know if there is anything specific you would like to see in future posts!

keep smiling,



Scott C August 17, 2008 at 9:35 PM


Just kidding Ben, we can have a Jihad another time I guess… How’s Friday for you?



Ben August 17, 2008 at 9:50 PM

Well, since we canceled our Sunday Jihad, I guess we could start one up on Friday… although I work Friday night, so we can’t Jihad too late…

keep smiling,



Sadie August 12, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Something I’ve started practicing while meditating is focusing on the thing its self that I would like to achieve, ask God/Higher Power for wisdom and knowledge on how to achieve, and then thanking God/Higher Power for the ability to achieve that particular thing.

So often we forget how important it is to praise and give thanks for all that is given us. If we would take that moment to give that thanks, I believe we would not only see but also feel the love, light, and knowledge that we are all searching for and become closer to our God/Higher Power.

Love & Light,


Ben August 12, 2008 at 5:22 PM

Hi Sadie,

I’m happy to see you following the blog and the e-course… there is an incredible amount of useful information given freely, here… most won’t be alert enough to appreciate it… but that’s okay, some will appreciate it, and those are the people I’m doing this for.

What you are describing (gratitude, visualization, and acceptance) is a powerful practice, particularly if you know how to unify both sides of the brain to gain greater access to the unconscious mind… as it is only the unification of the conscious and unconscious mind that allows us to truly communicate with Higher Power (Higher Self, Holy Guardian Angel, etc.).

The time and effort involved are well worth the results!

keep smiling,



alphawav February 4, 2010 at 10:57 PM

AWESOME SITE BEN!!!! Keep the great work up!!! theres a great energy flow on this site. I like it ! 😀 ~ definitely, thanks for sharing your mind with us!


Angel March 25, 2011 at 12:23 PM


Hi! I just started meditating and commited to the 40days adventure, I just completed the book The Secret! It lead me to this path and from that exerience my life has truly taken a change! I am like a child walking for the 1st time, each time getn more confident in my new way of living…. Inside I feel such a presence of love whereas before never felt that? I finally feel like everything is starting to come into alignment, The Law of Love/Attraction says you are what you think/want! So unbelievabley true and amazing! I wana share it with the world…. Meditation is so power because it alllows you time w/The divine and yourself! You start to gain control over your mind/thoughts….. Thank you Ben for the info please advise where I can get more of this?!
Always loving,


Ubah April 17, 2011 at 5:31 AM

I love dis Ben, u inspired me. Keep it up!


Kel August 7, 2011 at 11:43 AM

This is good ben keep it up. I hope starting something like this someday like u have done. U are just good.


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